The Ford government must take its responsibility for funding Laurentian University

The Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) has spontaneously come to the aid of LUFA and joined the many other Canadian labour organizations in calling on the Ford government to take responsibility for the financial crisis it created through chronic underfunding.

March 17, 2021

Montreal, March 17, 2021 – The Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) is dismayed to learn that, as a result of serious financial difficulties, Laurentian University has filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

The Federation wishes to express its solidarity with the faculty and students of Laurentian University, who are in a critical situation given the uncertainty about the continuation of many jobs and programs, future working conditions, and pension plans.

The CCAA process is normally used by private companies to avoid bankruptcy. It is extremely worrisome that a mainly publicly funded institution, let alone a university, would use CCAA. This is an unprecedented situation that concerns university unions across Quebec and Canada, in a context where university funding is dependent on the commitment of provincial governments and their willingness to preserve universities’ teaching and research missions for the benefit of the public interest.

While it is true that public finances of all governments are currently undermined by the struggle against COVID-19, it is worth emphasizing the important role of universities in overcoming the crisis. In addition to helping to find answers to the social and public health problems resulting from the pandemic, universities and their professors will be at the heart of the recovery, participating in efforts to reorient the workforce, in the scientific discoveries on which innovation will be based, and in the advancement of knowledge needed to prevent future crises.

The FQPPU therefore urges the Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano, and the Ford government to work with the various parties, in particular the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA), to find solutions to Laurentian’s funding problems. A fundamental aspect of the mission of this institution is to offer university courses to the Francophone and Indigenous peoples of Northern Ontario. The maintenance of these programs is vital to the social and economic development of these communities.

Since 1991, the FQPPU is the consultation and representation body for Quebec university faculty.

Source : Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU)